In Part 1 I talked about WiFi and Planning Tools. In Part 2 I will talk about the more controversial components to Disney’s new MyMagic + system.
Fastpass +. Back in the day, you would go to the Magic Kingdom and stand in line to ride Dumbo no matter how long that line was. In 1999 Disney decided to introduce Fastpass to the parks. Here is how it worked. You would go to the ride you wanted to get a pass for, put your park ticket inside a machine, and it would spit out a paper pass that would allow you to skip the line for the next available window. This system worked well and allowed people to maximize the rides they were able to use each day as there was no limit in the amount you could get. It could also create panic as you chased Fastpasses all day around the park.
Today Disney is taking the chasing out of the equation and limiting the amount of lines you can cut each day. In the new system you get 3 Fastpasses per day for only one park. No more paper. Everything links up to your mobile app and your Magic Band. Here is where the controversy comes in. You can no longer take advantage of the system by running around the park chasing paper Fastpasses. Everyone is on even playing field being limited to 3 passes per day. Some people do not like this. Disney likes it because this means more time for you to spend money at the many retail locations throughout each park.
In my experience having 2 toddlers, it worked well for us. We were able to reserve the rides we wanted to go on and even changed our reservation times on the fly to a later hour because toddlers are unpredictable. Our experience was helped due to us not needing to utilize Fastpasses for busier adult rides such as Space Mountain. We also visited at a slower time of year so there were less people competing with us for the reservation. I can see where being limited and going during busier times can have a negative impact on someone’s experience. Disney will continue to adjust how this program works as people start using it more and complain to guest services.
Magicbands, everything you need on your wrist. Prior to these bands being released you were given a credit card sized card that housed your park tickets and hotel key on it. You were also able to charge to your room by swiping the card at retail locations. Disney has taken this idea to the next level and put all of these abilities onto a wrist band that uses radio frequency technology to work. Buying a t shirt? Tap your band to the Mickey head and put in your pin code. Entering the park? Tap your band to the Mickey head until it turns green and walk in. Opening your hotel room door? Tap your band to the Mickey head and the door is unlocked. See a pattern? As a pure convenience these are all great while on vacation. No more fumbling around your purse or wallet to find your card to do these. My experience was that it worked well. The bands themselves are light and did not bother me. They are waterproof so you can take them with you in the pool.
Sounds great right? Why is this controversial? Well think about it this way, you now have a digital presence on your wrist at all times while walking around DisneyWorld. Disney can in theory track your movements and behavior patterns by mapping out all those times you tap your band to a Mickey head. Disney has a website dedicated to such questions if you are interested in learning more. Last year this technology was cotroversial enough to get a U.S. Senator to challenge Disney. CEO Bob Iger was not impressed.
As with any technology you have to be aware of what you are signing up for when you accept the terms and conditions. Most of the population who visits WDW won’t mind being tracked to some degree as it is part of the deal to visit the world’s most visited theme park. I believe this technology will not be limited to just theme parks in the future. As most things do around here, this ties back to something Apple is working on, the iWatch. The first version of the iWatch is very likely to not have purchasing/tracking technology built into it. As soon as you are able to tap your Apple band on the Apple logo in the Apple store, then Nordstrom’s, then Starbucks…these corporations will easily know your spending habits. The next step may be targeted advertising personalized to you.
Anyone remember the movie Minority report? Prior to scanning Tom’s retina perhaps his wrist band was being scanned. Scary but this is where we are headed and Disney is already there.
What do you think about this technology? Have you been to WDW recently and experienced it first hand? Let us know by leaving a comment.